Why I’m not an actress

Marco Polo Netflix

Netflix

I was eagerly awaiting the premiere of Marco Polo on Netflix. Not just because it could be a potential binge marathon like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. The reasons for my anticipation were three-fold. 1. I had auditioned for one of the starring roles in the series and I was dying to see who actually booked the role and how she played the role. I had been told that if this role would be game changer for the actress who booked it, “breakout” leading role on Netflix, produced by The Weinstein Company 2. The series was slated to be an epic Game of Thrones-esque period piece starring a mostly Asian cast. It was very ambitious series with reports that the total budget was at 90 million, the most expensive television budget to date. 3. The success of this series could encourage other studios to cast more Asian talent in film and television projects.

Although the series was not met with positive reviews (it was boring), I applaud Netflix for tackling a project with so many lead Asian characters

I did not book the part, in fact I absolutely bombed the audition. Ultimately Olivia Cheng (in the photo above), an Emmy Award winning actress, won the plum role of Mei Lin. I don’t think I am a terrible actress, I believe that I am decent. I do however lack the passion for acting – for the craft. I enjoy being on set and working on a role, but definitely do not eat, sleep and breathe acting. I wish that this was something that I realized earlier on- the importance of pursuing something that you are absolutely passionate about it – because that passion does really magically open doors.

Anyhow the audition was super awkward, they wanted black hair so I was wearing this uncomfortable wig. Here were the original audition SIDES. The audition consisted of two scenes. The first scene was super legit, requiring quite a range of depth and emotion. But here are the lines for the second scene:

INT. HANGCHOW – BED CHAMBER OF SILK _ DAY

MEI LIN rides atop the breathless GOVERNOR OF HANGCHOW. Naked — her hair up in a coiled bun, held by a jade ornament — her shoulder reveals a vibrant tattoo of a dragon coiled around a rose vine.

MEI LIN

White Tiger enters the Jade Portal. Do you know this game?

Whatever it is she is subtly doing with her ass, half lit by candles, is pushing the politician to the verge of cardiac

Then she stops, suddenly, like a skilled mime. With his other hand, the Governor sets down more money. She looks at the purse out of the corner of her eye as she slides like liquid silk over him…moving into “Dragon rolls the Pearl”

MEI LIN

How much did you pay my brother for this opportunity, Governor

GOVERNOR

More porcelain than hes ever seen

Mei Lin raises her arms, dance-like, her hands in her coiled bun. She removes the jade ornament and lets her hair cascade long and loose. He almost passes out over her legendary beauty….and then she puts the jade pin to his throat. His eyes widen in terror….an assassination?

MEI LIN

Don’t fear, Governor, This is part of the game you paid for. The Danger Game. You are but a lowly worm…

GOVERNOR

Yes…Yes….

Mei Lin, the most dangerous fuck in China, rides the white tiger.

How could you audition this scene with a straight face? I couldn’t. I suppose a professional actress could. Ultimately, I didn’t feel great about this audition beyond the fact that I had not performed well. I was not comfortable with the content of the second scene and not even sure if I wanted to be nude in this project (showing nudity on a movie set is way different than  nudity in a photo shoot). However I was advised that I should audition anyways and if I booked the part I could just turn it down. I was also unhappy that I took the advice to wear a wig, I love my bleached blonde hair and I would have felt more sexy and comfortable as a blonde. If I had been more passionate about acting I would have stood firm on my opinions but since I was wishy washy about the whole thing, I was not firm on what I thought was best for me.

My old acting headshots

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Why was I pursuing acting at all? Well….. I kind of fell into acting. I had been working as an import model, and then began pursuing an acting career and along the way I racked up half a million friends on Myspace. At that point I was constantly approached with acting opportunities, a few legit, mostly bs. I was approached by a manager who was working at the very reputable Buchwald & Assoc. agency and he started to send me out on some very legitimate auditions. Early on with I booked a very visible speaking cameo on Fast and the Furious, Tokyo Drift and a ton of hosting roles. I even signed up with an amazing acting teacher and acting class. (Shout out to Sal Landi!). This was all very fun and I got this little ego boost every time I was up for an audition on a well known project. However, in retrospect I can see that perhaps my casual pursuit of an acting career (which ended up being very time consuming) took my focus away from my real passion at the time, which was being a singer and a performer.  I ultimately decided not to  pursue acting as a career at all.

What I have learned with all my career paths and detours is that following your passion is the most important thing above all else. Anything else is just a waste of time. It’s so easy for many of us to get distracted by the fluff and the glamour, the money and the fame. On the way we forget about what’s really important. My passions have evolved and changed over time. Currently I am discovering a buried passion of writing. I used to blog and write on a regular basis in the days of Live Journal, Xanga and Myspace but when Myspace died I just stopped cold.  It feels good to be back :)

 

 

Jet Tila noodles

jet tilas drunken noodles

I found a recipe that The Renaissance Man likes – he of my How to Make My Boyfriend a Foodie Post. I saw this recipe on Easy Chinese and it looked delicious and simple and he’s a huge fan of shrimp. I have to be honest, Thai food isn’t on the top of my list for favorite Asian foods. The list probably goes, in order of favorites: Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and then Thai, The Renaissance Man isn’t much a fan of Thai food, but that isn’t really saying much :P However one of my favorite dishes is Pad Kee Mao (very similiar to beef chow fun)

Here is the original recipe from Average Betty

Ingredients for Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mow)

3 tbsp black soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp canola or peanut oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
1/3 pounds beef and shrimp, beef thin sliced against the grain
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
4 cups fresh rice noodles, separated
1 cup Thai basil leaves, loosely packed
1/2 medium tomato, sliced
1/2 tsp white pepper

With stir fry recipes its best to prepare all the ingredients in advance

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Combine black soy, sweet soy, oyster sauce, and fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil to medium high in a medium sauté pan and sauté garlic until light brown. Add eggs and lightly scramble until set.

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A question that arose at this point was, what cut of meat works best for stir fry? Recommended was flank steak, sirloin steak or skirt steak.  I firmly believe and this isn’t noted in this recipe, that all meat should be velveted before stir frying. Velveting makes meat super tender, fluffy and velvet-y! I have often stir fried beef without velveting and the meat is tough, flavorless and inedible. Full information on how to velvet meat is posted here in Serious Eats. I prefer water velveting over hot oil velveting. Velveting instructions are posted below with the full recipe

Add meat and onions folding constantly until the meat is half cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. For the rice noodle I really recommend using dried noodles. I made the mistake of using the Vietnamese cooked, wide oily noodles that you can get packaged at Asian Supermarkets. They are clumped together and I read that the only way to separate the noodles is carefully by hand one by one, this process would take at least 30 minutes on its own! Also you can’t refridegerate the fresh noodles, once in the fridge they turn hard and are unusable so the noodles need to be used within 24 hours.

Add fresh rice noodles, sauce, tomatoes and basil; toss to combine for about 3 to 5 minutes

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I like to butterfly and devein both sides of the shrimp, belly also. I find that butterflying shrimp makes it a little more tender for my tastes. Make sure the noodles are cooked until the edges are slightly crisp. Sprinkle white pepper to combine well and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Ingredients for Velveting Meat

1 pound, boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon, salt
1 tablespoon, dry sherry
1 large, egg white
1 tablespoon, cornstarch
1tablespoon, oil

Instructions for Velveting Meat

Mix egg white with cornstarch, rice wine, and salt. Mix until the cornstarch dissolves. Make sure to dry the meat well with a paper towel. Pour the velveting mixture on top and marinade in the refridgerator for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, fill a pot with boiling water and 1 teaspoon of oil. Add meat and stir around for 40 seconds. Remove meat and strain water. Make sure to get rid of as much excess water as you can. Thats it – the mat is ready for stir fry!

 

Birchbox Unboxing – December 2014

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This is not an ad or sponsored post by Birchbox. I am actually a huge fan and subscriber of Birchbox. I absolutely love subscription boxes of all kinds, its like going to the mailbox and receiving a gift in the mail. Birchbox sends a monthly box filled with high quality beauty product samples. I’m not normally a fancy beauty product girl, the majority of my beauty and cosmetic products are from Rite Aid. However, since subscribing, I’ve added some more premium products to my arsenal.

Here’s what came in my festive December box!

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This first sample is Tocca Crema da Mano-Cleopatra-2 oz. by Tocca It smells very refreshing like grapefruit and cucumber. I always carry around some lotion in my purse.

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Rusk Texture Dry Finish Spray 8oz came in my Birchbox, I don’t own a finishing spray, this is different from hairspray, it seals in your look after your hair has been styled, without leaving it all crunchy. I love my Aqua Net from Rite Aid but it leaves my hair hard as a rock!

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Wow what happened here? This photo is super amaze compared to the others. Red lips is a look that I need to try out more often! I love this color by Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge, its fire engine red! It goes on easily, almost like a lip gloss but as potent as a lipstick

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Gah! Super Dry Hair, I hate it! it’s the side effect of being an Asian bleached blone, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. Amika Nourishing Mask For The Hair 60ml (2.03 oz) is meant to be a weekly treatment to rejuvenate dry or damages hair, make sure to leave it on for at least 5 minutes!

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Lord & Berry Line Shade Eye Pencil-Dark Black is always useful, I use it daily, this travel size is perfect for my makeup bag. You can’t tell but its also glittery

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There was also a Chuao Chocolatier Pop Corn Pop Chocolate Bar  which is not shown because I ate it immediately. it was REALLY good, I love saltiness mixed with sweet, and the popcorn in this chocolate pops, like pop rocks! Theres usually a little sweet snack included with each Birchbox

chuao

There are a couple notable items which were in previous boxes that I loved so much that I ended up investing in full sized versions that I recommend!

StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment, 1.7 fl. oz. has become a beauty product that I absolutely cannot live without. I have used Botox before but this nighttime treatment makes it so I don’t have to go under the needle again. It does what it promises, it actually fights signs of aging and plumps up your skin. I use it under my eyes and around my laugh line area.

strivectin ar

 

skin transformer

Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 Face Spotlight for Women is a product that I put on before I put on my makeup every morning. It adds a bronzing effect adding a nice color and highlight to my skin and evens my skin.

dr jart

Dr.Jart+ Dis-A-Pore Beauty Balm SPF30 is something I need now because I used to breakout really badly in high school and I have always been terrible about popping pimples. I have big pores and some damaged skin for my teenage years. BB is in the family of the super popular pore reducer products that are currently on the market. I like it because it is smooth and luscious and almost acts like a very light foundation. A tiny sample from Birchbox lasted me months!

What’s your favorite subscription box?


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25 Killer Christmas Gifts for your Girlfriend

25 Killer Christmas Gifts for your gifrlfriend

Don’t stress about your Christmas shopping this year, this is the perfect gift giving guide if your girlfriend is a wannabe fashionista who loves beauty products and loves to cook! Let me know how it goes!!

SUBSCRIPTIONS AS GIFTS

I absolutely love subscriptions! It’s like getting a free gift in the mail every single month

Birchbox – $10 a month

Birchbox is the OG giftbox. It’s a sampler box that arrives every month filled with about five beauty different products. I’ve been subscribing for about a year and I’ve gone on to buy full sized versions of many products I love. It’s awesome because you get a sampling of expensive skincare products that you can try out for a month. Included are lip balms, dry shampoos, pore minimizers, sunscreens, all kinds of stuff. Get her a six month subscription!

birchbox

Ipsy – $10 a month

Ipsy is more of a makeup focused giftbox, created by a collection of Youtube beauty stars. Also included in every month’s subscription is a brand new makeup bag.

ipsy

Shoedazzle – $40 a month

shoe main

 

A few of my favorite Shoedazzle shoes that I own

Shoedazzle is the perfect gift for every shoe obsessed fashionista in your life. A VIP membership is just $40 a month (most shoes are priced at about $40) and shoes are approx 50% off with the first purchase. There are also very frequent sales heavily discounted sales. The shoes are very on trend and very high quality, worth more than $40. Another perk is that Gwen Stefani designs a great line just for Shoedazzle

 

STOCKING STUFFERS

Selfie Stick – $14.99

For the most self obsessed selfie queen in your life. No more straining to take photos of herself!

selfie

Selfie Stick @ Amazon.com

 

The Complete Gillian Flynn Collection: Gone Girl, Dark Places,

Sharp Objects – $25.80

You’ve taken your girl to see the movie Gone Girl by David Fincher right? It was my favorite movie of the year, dark and clever. I read Flynn’s Gone Girl book in one sitting, it was SO addictive and I did the same with her other two earlier novels. All her books are dark but imaginative and different, reading them in a row they didnt get the slightest bit stale. Can’t wait for her to come out with a new novel!

gillian

The Complete Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl, Dark Places, Sharp Objects

 

 

Cookbooks – $20-ish

If your girl loves to cook, she will love any of these beautifully photographed cookbooks for her library. I have a massive collection of cookbooks and I can never have enough

cook dom  cook slanted cook plenty morecook thugcook momo

Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes – $20.47
Dominique Ansel is the mastermind behind the Cronut craze that spawned 8 hour lines at his bakery in New York. He has many other innovative desserts, they call him the “Willa Wonka of NYC”

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi – $21
– The third cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi, Ottolenghi is famous for his masterful vegetable creations and his previous two cookbooks have been bestsellers. Perfect for vegans and vegetarians

The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food-$23.40
A cookbook from the famous San Francisco restaurant of classic Vietnamese recipes with a modern twist by chef Charles Phan

Momofuku – $27.19
The Momofuku cookbook is older than the others but to me its a classic. I’ve cooked many of the recipes in the book, using his Roasted Onions recipe in everything from burgers to Hawaiian potato salad to his recipe for Ssam

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck – $14.61
– 
From the blog by the same name, huge controversy was created when the anonymous writers of the blog revealed that they were actually white. Arguments around the topic of racial politics and appropriation ensued. Controversy or not, the recipes are fun and manly — get it for your girl so that she’ll make these recipes for you!

GIFTS FOR THE KAWAII GIRL

Run Devil Run Tshirt – $22.99

For the KPOP lover in your life who is also a bit BAD-ASS

run devil run snsd

 

Buffmonster Print – $59.50

For the artsy Kawaii girl in your life, pick her up a print from one of my favorite street artists, I regret not picking up his exclusive print for the Hello Kitty exhibition at The Japanese American Museum — now you can’t purchase it anywhere at all.

buffmonster

I love me some Agent Provocateur but it is scarily overpriced. Fragile Pony is an awesome, handmade substitute and much more affordable. This is really a gift for you, disguised as a gift for your girl! I love to dress up to spice things up and most girls do also!

Cake Frame Bra – $45

Fragile Pony

 

Gyaru Chained Play Set – $75

Fragile Pony2

Urban Decay Naked- $54

I received the Naked 2 set in different shades of brown several years ago. I only apply eyeshadow when going out, so this palette will probably last me for another five years! I don’t need any other eyeshadows at all, this set covers every brown shade that I need

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Forever 21 Faux Fur Jackets – $27-$54

Faux fur jackets are huge this winter. These Forever 21 jackets are so affordable that you could pick up all three for her!

forever forever2 forever3

Striped Faux Fur Jacket – $27.93 (on- sale!)

Paneled Faux Fur Jacket – $45.43 (on sale!)

Luxe Faux Fur Jacket $54.80

For Love and Lemons Dresses

For Love and Lemons is one of my favorite brands at the moment, starting out as a lingerie line and now expanding into lingerie inspired dresses that stop traffic. They cost more than a girl might want to spend on herself so they are a perfect splurge for a Christmas gift

Cheater Tip – you can find similar dresses at a fraction of the price ($31.69!!!!! at SheInside – you just gotta do a little digging :)

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Antigua Maxi Dress – $288 and Antigua Mini Dress – $228

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer – $299.99

The Renassaince Man got me this last year and I absolutely love it! It comes in a whole rainbow array of colors also – obviously the best color is hot pink!

KitchenAid-KSM155GBRI-Raspberry-Ice-5-quart-Artisan-Design-Tilt-Head-Stand-Mixer-With-Bonus-Rebate-Item-P13996604
KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Creme de la mer – $169.99

Some call this a miracle cream, $169 gets you about 1 oz, but used sparingly it lasted me a whole year – gives the skin a youthful radiance and glow

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La Mer Creme de La Mer The Moisturizing Cream 30ml/1oz

Kitten – $100

If I didn’t already have Kitty and Mr. Cat (Renaissance Man’s cat) I would absolutely love to get a little baby kitten for Christmas! Cats are the best pets ever, super affectionate, very loyal, and so so low maintenance. Bonus points for saving a kitten from extermination at the pound!  Here’s a baby photo of my Kitty

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HEY BIG SPENDER!

 

Tropical Vacation – $2000

Groupon has these amazing vacation deals. $2000 sounds like a lot, but this is for a five day – luxury hotel stay for two people, roundtrip airfare. The Hard Rock Riviera Maya. Gratuities are also included and you receive a $1800 resort credit towards massages, tours and dinners. My band Nylon Pink played at the Hard Rock in Penang Malaysia and it was a dream vacation staying there. If Thailand is not your top choice, there is a huge selection of destinations to choose from

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Louis Vuitton x Christian Louboutin Shopping Tote
$5,150 at Louis Vuitton Boutiques

Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin collaboration – need I say more?

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2015 Lexus NX – $39,000 at the Lexus Dealership

I absolutely love Lexus’ new crossover NX, a smaller, sportier version of the RX. I am totally loyal to the Lexus brand, I drove my last RX to the ground, over 180K miles and it probably would’ve lasted me another ten years. Poor little car, it held up over the countless dings and car crashes that I subjected it to (I am the stereotypical Asian female driver)

nx

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Black Widow

Kaila Yu in She Inside and Shoedazzle

I took this dress to Costa Rica, it worked nicely in the tropical night heat. My Renaissance Man liked it a lot!

She Inside dress & Shoedazzle stilettos


Photography by: CB4TOS aka Poetic Sky

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Every Girl Loves Diamonds! Holly Daze Daily Jewelry Giveaway!

shaneco

EVERY GIRL LOVES DIAMONDS!!

**Hollydaze Daily Giveaway**

ENTER HERE

I’m so excited to announce that I am teaming up with Shane Co to give away jewelry: including diamonds, rubies and much more! Shane Co is giving away a free piece of jewelry every single day until Christmas Eve!

Guys: Win the special girl in your life an extra high quality jewel for Christmas — every girl loves a little extra icing!

CLICK HERE TO WIN!

hollydaze

Sponsored Post by Shane Co

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

taiwanese beef noodle soup recipe

Taiwanese beef noodle soup is a beloved classic. Perfect for the wintertime and as a substitute for chicken noodle soup when you have a cold, its a hearty, heart warming dish. This was one of my first test dishes to help me on my goal: HOW DO I MAKE MY BOYFRIEND A FOODIE

My boyfriend J liked this recipe ok but he wasn’t head over heels for it. I thought it was perfectly delicious but perhaps the flavors were too foreign to him or maybe its because I used the wrong noodle. I would cook this recipe again but not for J!

I used the recipe from EPICURIOUS and added some tweaks

taiwanese beef noodle soup 2

Waters not pictured here but go ahead and bring water, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, ginger, white parts of scallion, garlic, star anise, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

taiwanese beef noodle soup 1

Brown your meat over high heat – a lot of recipes leave this out but it is important to sear the meat in order to lock in the flavors and more importantly, to give your meat a yummy looking brown coat! 2-3 minutes a side should do, eyeball it when it looks nice and browned like pictured

taiwanese beef noodle soup

Add short ribs to the pot and gently simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until meat is very tender but not falling apart, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours.

taiwanese beef noodle soup

Let meat stand in cooking liquid, uncovered, 1 hour.

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Transfer meat to a cutting board with tongs and discard bones and membranes, then cut meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Try not to eat it all at this point, its meltingly, fall off the bone delicious at this point! I also added some red pepper for taste and looks. For my picky bf I added spinach, a vegetable that he loves. Skim fat from cooking liquid and transfer liquid to a 3-quart saucepan. Add chicken broth and meat and reheat soup over moderately low heat.

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Meanwhile, cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of (unsalted) boiling water until tender, about 7 minutes . I used the noodle pictured above but I dont recommend it, it was a little gummy? I would love feedback on your favorite brand of recommended noodle for Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup.  Drain noodles well in a colander and divide among 4 large soup bowls.

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Aren’t the colors pretty?? Ladle broth over noodles and top with meat, scallion greens, spinach, and red chile (if using).

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Servings: 4

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 4 1/2 hours

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 bunch scallions, white parts smashed with flat side of a large knife and green parts chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 1/2 pounds meaty beef short ribs
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 ounces)
  • 10 ounces dried Chinese wheat noodles
  • 1 (4-inch-long) fresh red chile (optional), thinly sliced

preparation

Bring water, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, ginger, white parts of scallion, garlic, cilantro stems, tangerine peel, star anise, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add short ribs and gently simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until meat is very tender but not falling apart, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. Let meat stand in cooking liquid, uncovered, 1 hour.

Transfer meat to a cutting board with tongs and discard bones and membranes, then cut meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. 3Pour beef broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Skim fat from cooking liquid and transfer liquid to a 3-quart saucepan. Add chicken broth and meat and reheat soup over moderately low heat.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of (unsalted) boiling water until tender. Drain noodles well in a colander and divide among 4 large soup bowls.

Ladle broth over noodles and top with meat, scallion greens, spinach, and red chile (if using).

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How do I make my boyfriend a Foodie?

I love my boyfriend but our eating synergy is way off. He grew up all American, eating hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, faux Mexican food (Taco Bell!) and Shake and Bake. I grew up Asian American, specifically Taiwanese  — which means that I am a HUGE foodie who will eat practically everything and am open to trying almost anything.

He loves sandwiches, and things all mushed together in one bite. Exhibit A: burritos, pizzas and sandwiches. I love everything separated: Exhibit B: bento boxes, dim sum and tapas.

At least we both love Sushi. And by sushi I mean real sushi, meaning sashimi and such. We both dislike fake sushi: those monstrous over stuffed and overly glazed and fried sushi rolls.  Btw rolls were 100% absent from all menus when we visited Tokyo last year.

I complained to my girl friend about this issue and she said if you can’t get over this minor issue, good luck with navigating the rest of the “real issues” which come with any relationship. But I am stopping to protest that IT IS A HUGE DEAL! I am a huge foodie and I want to share my love of food with my boyfriend!

I’ve compromised! We rarely go out to eat so I do all the home cooking — pot roasts, steaks, pastas  — I’ve gained ten lbs in the past year! I throw in an Asian meal every three days or so but I can tell that he is just humoring me by eating the meal, not lavishing praise on the meal like on the other days when I make a pot roast or taco.

He jokes about the “sketchy Asian food” that I love to eat.  ??? Everyone knows that Asian food is the superior cuisine of the world! Just listen to  the vast list of food experts who rave about it: Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmerman and the Pulitzer Prize nominated Jonathan Gold just to name a few!

My plan is to ease him into loving Asian food by starting off with fusion foods and some of the most popular, well loved and cross cultural dishes and track his progress and feedback. I’ll need YOUR help too! Any help, suggestions, and ideas are welcomed!

Brief history of the Import Model

A brief history of the Import Model – according to me.

Francine dee import model

My definition of a “name” model is one that was or is a household name amongst Asian Americans in their teens and twenties. This is an extremely brief history (approx. twenty years) because I am not up to date on who the current Asian pin-up models are. This history starts in the 1990s because Sung Hi Lee was the first name Asian model. While I was growing up, there was only Sung-Hi Lee. I’m glad to see that there are many famous Asian faces in the pin-up/import world and in film/tv and fashion. I am disappointed to see that there are still currently not any household name Asian female singers. Maybe Nylon Pink or CL from 2NE1 can be the first!

What is an import model? – Basically it’s a model who models at car shows and in the automotive industry. Some say that any girl who poses next to a car is an import model. For me the definition of any kind of professional model is one who makes a living and pays her bills modeling and has numerous printed publication credits.

SUNG HI LEE

Although she was never an import model, Sung-Hi Lee must be mentioned. Sung-Hi Lee was the hugest pin-up Asian model in the world while I was in high school and college, I was obsessed with her! I still think that she has the most flawless look – it was my dream to be her. She later went on to pursue a pretty successful acting career

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PHOTO CREDIT: KIM MIZUNO AND PLAYBOY

Here’s a picture of us together! She featured me on her website early on in my career — I remember that she personally left me a voicemail after I submitted my photos to her website and I replayed it for my boyfriend at the time who was also a fan of hers. We were both super impressed, she was like an icon in those days and she was the only Asian model who mattered at all.

sunghi

Her webmaster, Misha – the best pin-up webmaster at the time took my website on and my career catapulted! Here’s a photo from one of my first sets shot for Sung-Hi’s site

Kaila_Yu_03

PHOTO CREDIT: MISHA
DAPHNE

The first import model that I was ever aware of was Daphne. To be honest I didn’t think that she was that pretty, mostly because she had short hair but all the guys at my college had her poster up on their walls. (If you have a photo of her please send it to me for posting!)

THE REMIX TWINS

The Remix Twins were the big Asian models in the scene, one was definitely prettier than the other! They were on the premiere issue of Import Tuner, debuting in 1998

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

 

First generation import models:

The first import models to really make a name in the Import World were Francine Dee and Sasha Singleton.

Back then everyone posed for Playboy which has changed a lot, the import models today don’t pose for Playboy as much but it seems that they all go go dance!

FRANCINE DEE

Francine Dee is probably my favorite import model of all time – her face is flawlessly beautiful on top of the her famed double Ds. On top of that she’s always been so sweet! She always made an effort to reach out to me and I always heard that she was kind to other models: one time while modeling for a show in Hawaii, she invited me down to her suite for breakfast. Another time she invited me over to spend the night and ride to the airport together

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

I labeled her photo THEN and NOW, because she looks EXACTLY the same is she did ten years ago!

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PHOTO CREDIT: FRANCINEDEE.COM

SASHA SINGLETON

Sasha Singleton was the first ever Miss Hot Import Nights – I remember that I went to my first car show and the line for her autographs was around the block. Sasha is one of the only first generation models who also go-go danced

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

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PHOTO CREDIT: KANSAI JIMMY and CAL HOT SHOTS

 

NATASHA YI

Natasha Yi first came out in Playboy and quickly became an icon in the Import World. She currently hosts a popular Youtube channel with her husband who is a famous radio disc jockey

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

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PHOTO CREDIT: SUPER STREET 

My Import Tuner Cover

This was my first magazine cover ever and it was SO exciting to be on the newsstands. Getting the Import Tuner cover back then was a big deal

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

AIKO TANAKA

Aiko was and still is my ultimate #1 import bestie

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

We had a cameo in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift together

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PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Now shes a super amazing comic and you need to go check her out ASAP! Aiko’s Official Website

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TILA TEQUILA

The import model to achieve the most mainstream level of success was Tila Tequila. Tila started the trend of all the blonde Asians, she was pretty much the first model to showcase this look, this look has now proliferated amongst all the currentlt blonde Asian Fashion Bloggers. She had great style but most importantly she had a personality and a huge amount of charisma, something most of the other models didnt have. She became the number one user on Myspace, went on to have her own dating show on MTV and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Not so nice though, although we’ve traveled together several times, after her Myspace fame she wouldn’t bother to say hello to me if I saw her out at events.

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

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PHOTO CREDIT: MAXIM MAGAZINE

 

Second generation import models:

LISA KIM FLEMING

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CHRISTINE MENDOZA

Definitely one of the first and top second generation Import Models, she recently stepped down from modeling to focus on her family life.

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

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CREDIT: DAVID YU PHOTOGRAPHY AND JOHN PHOTOGRAPHY

When my band Nylon Pink played our first show in Australia, Christine Mendoza was one of the go go dancers with the extremely beautiful Justine Jaro

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 JERI LEE

Lucky Jeri Lee! 2nd generation Import Tuner covers were 100% more awesome than those of my generation. She is a fan of the Harajuku Japanese style — (like me) and is actually really passionate about modeling – taking an extra effort to craft especially well-styled shoots! I would consider her the #1 second generation model – she also go-go dances all over the world.

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PHOTO CREDIT: IMPORT TUNER

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PHOTO CREDIT: REY TREJANO AND STEVE BITANGA

I haven’t been keeping up so I am not entirely sure who the top import models are currently. I do know that the Fast and Furious movies killed off the industry for a period of time, somehow the popularity of the movies killed the cult following of the car shows, making the scene way too mainstream. Was Import Tuner eventually killed for this reason also? I’m sad to see that Tuner is no longer in print! Hot Import Nights is back in business now taken over by the original maven of the scene Mike Munar so the scene should be making a big comeback!

What’s great to see is that Asian women are making a huge impact on the fashion industry these days. All over Instagram are huge social media influencers/models. The #1 Youtube beauty influencer is Michelle Phan with 7 million subscribers. I am fans of Asian Instagram stars: Feral Creature and Chriselle Lim- both with huge social media followings.  It’s less about the import models today because Asian females are influencers over many more platforms these days. Progress!

Navajo Winter

I hate the winter weather but I do love the multitude of faux fur coats that are in style this season. This jacket was actually a part of one of J Valentine’s Halloween costumes but it works great as a fall coat. We are loving Rochelle Carino’s line also!

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Kaila is wearing: Rochelle Carino mesh shirt and shorts, Shoedazzle shoes, ROJAS bandeau, Philippe Audibert necklace, and J Valentine jacket

Photography by CB4TOS